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「中、美關係」 -- 開欄文
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以下轉載兩篇就「中、美關係」所做的報導/評論:

1.
《中國鷹派取得華府外交政策主導權》(1) -- 報導「中、美關係」在過去10年間由「友善」轉向「較勁」(或「冷戰2.0)的經過和相關因素。

2.
中、美經貿關係脫鉤的虛實(2) – 分析「中、美經貿關係脫鉤」的實際和走勢。

此外,我將陸續轉載另一篇從心理學「人格特質」角度討論「中、美關係」的文章 -- 《中、美陷入惡性的相互依賴關係》(3),以及一篇展望「中國前景」的文章 -- 中國10年崩潰論》及其短評(4);可以跟它們對照著看。幫助我們從理論層次來了解國際關係和國家前途。

我轉載這四篇文章謹供參考並不表示我同意它們的論述。再次提醒各位:「盡信書不如無書」與「凡論述必有前提凡判斷必有立場」這兩個經驗之談。

後記:

二月初我被傳染上感冒。昏睡了10天左右;症狀消失後仍然無精打采了近一個星期。這兩天才有點精神做些正事。

附註:

1. 原文標題是:Washington’s China Hawks Take FlightTake flight一詞有兩個相反的意思:一是解決問題打敗對手引申為取得上風;二是逃之夭夭。從該文內容看,作者的「用法」是第一個意思。
2.
原文標題是:Is China-Decoupling A Myth?
3.
原文標題是:China and America are locked in destructive codependence
4.
原文標題是:'10 years left': This famed geopolitical analyst says China is going to collapse in the next decade -- here are 3 key numbers that could support his contrarian forecast。在一般用法中Contrarian指「與主流意見相反的」;用在股市指「逆勢操作的」。


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接受「和平統一」是避免戰爭的雙贏政策 – Quinn Marschick
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請參看本欄上一篇《讀後》。


The win-win way to avoid a Taiwan war

US should reaffirm long-standing policy against Taiwan independence and signal it would eventually accept peaceful reunification

QUINN MARSCHIK, 01/31/24

After the surprise January 26-27 meeting between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Taiwan independence remains the most problematic issue in US-China relations.

The Taiwan problem will remain, especially since the independence-supporting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held Taiwan’s presidency following the island’s recent election.

Although Washington underlined its long-standing policy against Taiwan independence in response to the DPP victory, more is needed to craft a balanced Taiwan policy to achieve American interests. Instead of words alone, the United States should put its One China policy into practice to boost cross-strait deterrence and avoid a war with China.

Critically, to assure Beijing and maintain the hope of a diplomatic resolution to the Taiwan question, Washington should more publicly assure Beijing that it would accept the peaceful reunification of China and Taiwan.

To his credit, US President Joe Biden indicated this to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during their November 2023 meeting in San Francisco. Not only should Biden and his successors restate this publicly, but US government agencies should also make this an official talking point for both bilateral and multilateral engagements.

Increasing awareness of US acceptance of peaceful reunification – through joint statements, communiques, and formal records – will encourage other countries to adopt similar policies and further assure Beijing of America’s intentions. When America speaks, the Western-leaning world listens.

Through Washington’s insistence, concern over China-Taiwan ties has found its way into multilateral and bilateral diplomacy. This subsequently led to an uptick in US, European, and Indo-Pacific engagement with Taiwan and interest in Taiwan policy. More official and active US acceptance of a peaceful reunification outcome could see the West, Japan and South Korea formally adopt the policy as their own.

Providing further assurance, the White House should make clear to both Congress and Beijing that the President has the sole Constitutional authority to recognize the sovereignty of states.

The White House Counsel and the State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor should jointly release official guidance reinforcing this, specifically citing Zivotofsky vs Kerry – whereby the Supreme Court denied Congress has a right to recognize a state’s sovereignty through law. This would show China that when a US President says the United States opposes Taiwan’s independence, he or she means it.

Moreover, Washington should reverse its trend of official visits with Taiwan, which has worsened Taiwan’s security for the sake of symbolism.

To carry this out, the United States should return to conducting relations with Taiwan primarily through the American Institute in Taiwan. This would mean avoiding sending de jure US government officials to Taiwan and keeping relations unofficial, even though the Taiwan Travel Act allows up to the highest level of official visits.

Additionally, should Congress pass any law encouraging the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative’s Office (TECRO) in Washington to change its name to the Taiwan Representative Office, the Department of State should convey the negative implications of a name change to convince TECRO to maintain the status quo.

The State Department should advise that a name change would likely lead to trade disruptions, Beijing doubling its efforts to poach Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies and increased military activity around the island.

It would also likely signal to China that peaceful reunification is a dead end with the United States effectively declaring it would recognize an independent Taiwan. Of course, this would mean force is the only path to reunification.

Returning to a more unofficial relationship with Taiwan and avoiding symbolic activities would undermine China’s talking points that the United States is supporting or encouraging Taiwan’s independence forces. As a result, it would reduce the primary necessity – from a Chinese perspective – to rely more on forceful means in dealing with Taiwan.

However, Washington should pair assurance to Beijing on Taiwan with Chinese concessions on areas of US interest. These could include accelerating nuclear arms talks, trade and economic policy reciprocity and curbing economic espionage. Advancement in any of these areas would be a major win for US vital interests – far more than the cost to reassure Beijing.

By actively reassuring China and the world of its opposition to Taiwan’s independence, the United States can prolong the cross-strait peace. Beijing would have less need to use coercive measures in its relations with Taiwan with restored mutual trust in US policy, which Chinese Premier Li Qiang emphasized during his 2024 World Economic Forum address.

Concurrently, Taipei would be further constrained to maintain the non-independence status quo and avoid symbolic activities that may promote ideas of sovereignty but harm security.

Despite a more active assurance policy, US efforts ultimately underpin its One China policy and the strategic ambiguity that has contributed to cross-strait peace for decades. This policy can work together with US commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances to create a more restraint-oriented Taiwan policy.

Taiwan is the likeliest flashpoint for a US-China conflict. Establishing acceptance of peaceful reunification as official policy, doubling down on opposition to Taiwan independence and restoring prior diplomatic practices are cheap means to deter a war over Taiwan. Now is the time to change course to reassure Beijing, before it is too late.


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《接受「和平統一」是避免戰爭的雙贏政策》讀後
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馬協克先生是一位中國專家;他這篇文章鐵口的主張:

美國應該明確表示未來可以接受「和平統一」(請見本欄下一篇貼文)

我不記得以前看過這麼直接表達的「對中政策」

請注意:馬協克先生「聲稱」:拜登總統在202311月舊金山的美中峰會時,已經向習總書記表達了這個立場。雖然上面這段話是他的「詮釋」;但從馬協克先生引用01/11/24的白宮新聞簡報看來,美國相當明確的回到了中、美建交時的外交政策(請見以下摘要)。我孤陋寡聞,這是我第一次看到這個訊息。

馬協克先生另一個有趣的論點是:一旦美國明確表達「未來可以接受和平統一」的政策,美國政府可以要求中國在其它涉及「美國利益」的地方做相應的退讓。

我早就表示過

1) 
很少領袖會陷入兩面作戰只有白癡會走上三面作戰的不歸路。
2) 
美國核心利益的優先順位是:美國本土、歐洲中東和亞洲。

由於國際形勢的轉變:中級勢力遍地開花獨霸地位日漸式微美國的亞洲外交政策不得不擺脫「戰略模糊」的撇步,走向明朗化來制止台獨人士的「無知盲動」。

台獨夢可以醒了
台獨謊言被拆穿了
台獨新衣也被扒下來了

希望有更多的美國「中國專家」,能像馬協克先生這樣認清現實,站在「美國利益」立場提出政策建言。


01/11/24
的白宮新聞簡報摘要

When President Biden met with President Xi in San Francisco this past November, he made clear that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not and will not change.  He reiterated that we are committed to our longstanding One China policy which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances.

He indicated that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.  We do not support Taiwan independence.  We support cross-Strait dialogue, and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means, free from coercion, in a manner that is acceptable to the people on both sides of the Strait.  We do not take a position on the ultimate resolution of cross-Strait differences, provided they are resolved peacefully.


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《2024中、美關係:戰爭邊緣?》評論
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克雷爾教授在他大作中也同意:「中、美兩國鬥則俱傷」,甚至禍延全球;但他對中、美關係的前景感到悲觀(見本欄上一篇貼文)。他擔憂和強調:

1) 
兩國國內個別好戰份子的壓力可能會導致兩國走向戰爭邊緣(1)
2) 
引爆點則在台海或南海。

我並不苟同克雷爾教授的「悲觀論」。我不期望中、美兩國會「哥倆好」。不過,我深信中國領導階層有「不打沒有把握的仗」這個智慧和共識。我相信,五年內中國沒有在台海或南海絕對打敗美國的能力與自信;從而,兩岸以及中、美之間還有五年和平但劍拔弩張的對峙關係。

之後就不好說了。

「好戰份子」只是些跳樑小丑,打打嘴砲而已沒有興風作浪的能力。


附註:

1.
「好戰份子」在此指:台灣的發國難財集團如DPP美國的國防-軍火商共生體。

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2024中、美關係:戰爭邊緣? -- Michael Klare
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Another Major War in 2024?

Michael Klare, 12/21/23

原刊物編者的前言

Honestly, as 2021 ended, if I had predicted a Russian invasion of and unrelenting globalized war in Ukraine in 2022 and, in 2023, an explosion in the Middle East, beginning with a horrific Hamas incursion into Israel followed by the utter devastation of Gaza (while the Greater Middle East teetered at the edge of worse), you might have thought of me as the Mad Hatter of that winter season.

But of course, that’s just where we find ourselves as this year ends. The question remains: Could there be worse on a planet that may itself prove to be in the ultimate crisis, thanks to our inability to stop using fossil fuels? I mention all of this because today TomDispatch regular Michael Klare brings up yet another possibility that might seem beyond the bounds right now: the potential for an actual war (even a nuclear one) between the United States and China. Absurd, right? I mean, the two great powers left on Earth — one rising (assuming anything can truly rise on this planet anymore), the other falling — facing off on the battlefield? Wouldn’t that be a tale from hell in 2024?

And I must admit that the very thought holds a deep sadness for me, since I’ve long felt a curious warmth for China that I can trace deep into my own life. Admittedly, the closest I ever came to that country was Japan, which wasn’t exactly close. Still, to put it bluntly, China saved my life. I’m thinking here of the China that stretches back into the most ancient realms of history, a civilization and a literature that were remarkable and about which, growing up, I hadn’t learned a damn thing. (In my childhood, China was the place in downtown New York City where you went to get dinner… oh wait, that was Chinatown!) But in 1962, this Jewish kid from that city found himself, at the insistence of his parents and against his own wishes, a freshman at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, just after that then-WASPy redoubt had removed its Jewish quotas.

What saved me was stumbling into the introductory Chinese history course taught by a husband-and-wife team, Arthur and Mary Wright. (She was — a sign of those times — the only female tenured professor at Yale then.) She taught the more modern part of the course and I found myself riveted. She would later let me into a graduate seminar of hers, and her assistant, Jonathan Spence, would oversee my undergraduate thesis on Mao Zedong’s “long march.” I would then go on to Harvard graduate school in Chinese history (while returning to New Haven a summer later to help Spence write his still-superb book To Change China: Western Advisors in China).

A year or two after that, the antiwar moment of the Vietnam era swept me away and out of graduate school (but that’s another story!).

So, I must admit, as this year ends and my 23rd year at TomDispatch begins, in a world where, given the ongoing horrors in Ukraine and Gaza (not to speak of the overheating of the planet), carnage seems to be our everyday reality, it saddens me to think that my country and China might find themselves at each other’s throats. I truly hope otherwise but feel that Klare’s superb piece couldn’t be a more sadly appropriate way to end 2023 at this site. Tom

The U.S. and China at Year’s End

Still Treading on the Precipice

MICHAEL KLARE

This hasn’t exactly been a year of good news when it comes to our war-torn, beleaguered planet, but on November 15th, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping took one small step back from the precipice. Until they talked in a mansion near San Francisco, it seemed as if their countries were locked in a downward spiral of taunts and provocations that might, many experts feared, result in a full-blown crisis, even a war — even, god save us all, the world’s first nuclear war. Thanks to that encounter, though, such dangers appear to have receded. Still, the looming question facing both countries is whether that retreat from disaster — what the Chinese are now calling the “San Francisco vision” — will last through 2024.

Prior to the summit, there seemed few discernible obstacles to some kind of trainwreck, whether a complete breakdown in relations, a disastrous trade war, or even a military clash over Taiwan or contested islands in the South China Sea. Beginning with last February’s Chinese balloon incident and continuing with a series of bitter trade disputes and recurring naval and air incidents over the summer and fall, events seemed to be leading with a certain grim inevitability toward some sort of catastrophe. After one such incident last spring, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman warned that “the smallest misstep by either side could ignite a U.S.-China war that would make Ukraine look like a neighborhood dust-up.”

In recent months, top leaders in both Beijing and Washington were becoming ever more concerned that a major U.S.-China crisis — and certainly a war — would prove catastrophic for all involved. Even a major trade war, they understood, would create economic chaos on both sides of the Pacific. A complete breakdown in relations would undermine any efforts to come to grips with the climate crisis, prevent new pandemics, or disrupt illegal drug networks. And a war? Well, every authoritative nongovernmental simulation of a U.S.-China conflict has ended in staggering losses for both sides, as well as a significant possibility of nuclear escalation (and there’s no reason to assume that simulations conducted by the American and Chinese militaries have turned out any differently).

As summer turned into fall, both sides were still searching for a mutually acceptable offramp” from catastrophe. For months, top officials had been visiting each other’s capitals in a frantic effort to bring a growing sense of crisis under control. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Beijing in June (a trip rescheduled after he cancelled a February visit thanks to that balloon incident); Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrived in July; and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in August. Similarly, Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to Washington in October. Their meetings, according to New York Times reporters Vivian Wang and David Pierson, were arranged “in the hope of arresting the downward spiral” in relations and to pave the way for a Biden-Xi meeting that might truly ease tensions.

Mission Accomplished?

Not surprisingly, for both Biden and Xi, the primary objective of the San Francisco summit was to halt that downward spiral. As Xi reportedly asked Biden, “Should [the U.S. and China] engage in mutually beneficial cooperation or antagonism and confrontation? This is a fundamental question on which disastrous mistakes must be avoided.”

From all accounts, it appears that the two presidents did at least stop the slide toward confrontation. While acknowledging that competition would continue unabated, both sides agreed to “manage” their differences in a “responsible” manner and avoid conflict-inducing behavior. While the United States and China “are in competition,” Biden reportedly told Xi, “the world expects the United States and China to manage competition responsibly to prevent it from veering into conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War.” Xi reportedly endorsed this precept, saying that China would strive to manage its differences with Washington in a peaceful fashion.

In this spirit, Biden and Xi took several modest steps to improve relations and prevent incidents that might result in unintended conflict, including a Chinese promise to cooperate with the U.S. in combating the trade in the narcotic drug fentanyl and the resumption of high-level military-to-military communications. In a notable first, the two also “affirmed the need to address the risks of advanced [artificial intelligence] systems and improve AI safety through U.S.-China government talks.” They also put their stamp of approval on a series of cooperative steps agreed to by their climate envoys John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua to mutually combat climate change.

Still, neither president agreed to any fundamental alterations in policy that might have truly shifted bilateral relations in a more cooperative direction. In fact, on the most crucial issues dividing the two countries — Taiwan, trade, and technology transfers — they made no progress. As Xue Gong, a China scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, put it, whatever the two presidents did accomplish, “the Biden-Xi meeting will not change the direction of U.S.-China relations away from strategic competition.”

With that still the defining constant in relations and both leaders under immense pressure from domestic constituencies the military, ultra-nationalist political factions, and assorted industry groups — to hang tough on key bilateral issues, don’t be surprised if the slide towards crisis and confrontation regains momentum in 2024.

The Trials to Come

Assuming U.S. and Chinese leaders remain committed to a nonconfrontational stance, they will face powerful forces driving them ever closer to the abyss, including both seemingly intractable issues that divide their countries and deeply entrenched domestic interests intent on provoking a confrontation.

Although several highly contentious issues have the potential to ignite a crisis in 2024, the two with the greatest potential to provoke disaster are Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

A self-governing island that increasingly seeks to pursue its own destiny, Taiwan is viewed by Chinese officials as a renegade province that should rightfully fall under Beijing’s control. When the U.S. established formal diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1979, it acknowledged the Chinese position “that there is one China and Taiwan is part of China.” That “one China” principle has remained Washington’s official policy ever since, but is now under increasing pressure as ever more Taiwanese seek to abandon their ties with the PRC and establish a purely sovereign state — a step that Chinese leaders have repeatedly warned could result in a military response. Many American officials believe that Beijing would indeed launch an invasion of the island should the Taiwanese declare their independence and that, in turn, could easily result in U.S. military intervention and a full-scale war.

For now, the Biden administration’s response to a possible Chinese invasion is governed by a principle of “strategic ambiguity” under which military intervention is implied but not guaranteed. According to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, any attempt by China to seize Taiwan by military means will be considered a matter “of grave concern to the United States,” but not one automatically requiring a military response. In recent years, however, increasing numbers of prominent Washington politicians have called for the replacement of “strategic ambiguity” with a doctrine of “strategic clarity,” which would include an unequivocal pledge to defend Taiwan in case of an invasion. President Biden has lent credence to this stance by repeatedly claiming that it is U.S. policy (it isn’t), obliging his aides to eternally walk back his words.

Of course, the question of how China and the U.S. would respond to a Taiwanese declaration of independence has yet to be put to the test. The island’s current leadership, drawn from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has so far accepted that, given the way Taiwan is slowly achieving de facto independence through diplomatic outreach and economic prowess, there’s no need to rush a formal declaration. But presidential elections in Taiwan this coming January and the possible emergence of another DPP-dominated administration could, some believe, trigger just such a move — or, in anticipation of it, a Chinese invasion.

Should the DPP candidate William Lai win on January 13th, the Biden administration might come under enormous pressure from Republicans — and many Democrats — to accelerate the already rapid pace of arms deliveries to the island. That would, of course, be viewed by Beijing as tacit American support for an accelerated drive toward independence and (presumably) increase its inclination to invade. In other words, Joe Biden could face a major military crisis remarkably early in 2024.

The South China Sea dispute could produce a similar crisis in short order. That fracas stems from the fact that Beijing has declared sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea — an extension of the western Pacific bounded by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, and Vietnam — along with the islands found within it. Such claims have been challenged by that sea’s other bordering states, which argue that, under international law (notably the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea) they are entitled to sovereignty over the islands that fall within their individual “exclusive economic zones” (EEZs). In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled on a petition from the Philippines that China’s claims were invalid and that the Philippines and its neighbors were indeed entitled to control their respective EEZs. China promptly both protested the ruling and announced its intention to disregard it.

Chinese control over those islands and their surrounding waters would have significant economic and strategic implications. To begin with, it extends China’s defense perimeter several hundred miles from its coastline, complicating any future U.S. plans to attack the mainland while making a PRC assault on U.S. and allied bases in the region far easier. The South China Sea also harbors major fisheries, an important source of sustenance for China and its neighbors, as well as vast reserves of oil and natural gas coveted by all the states in the region. China has consistently sought to monopolize those resources.

To facilitate its control over the area, the PRC has established military installations on many of the islands, while using its coast guard and maritime militias to drive off the fishing boats and oil-drilling vessels of other states, even ramming some of those ships. On October 22nd, for example, a large Chinese coast guard vessel bumped into a smaller Philippine one seeking to reinforce a small outpost of Philippines Marines located on the Second Thomas Shoal, an islet claimed by both countries.

In reaction to such moves, officials in Washington have repeatedly asserted that the U.S. will assist allies affected by Chinese “bullying.” As Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin declared in July at a meeting with Australian officials in Brisbane, “We’ll continue to support our allies and partners as they defend themselves from bullying behavior.” Three months later, following that clash at the Second Thomas Shoal, Washington reaffirmed its obligation to defend the Philippines under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, should Filipino forces, ships, or aircraft come under armed attack, including “those of its coast guard — anywhere in the South China Sea.”

In other words, a future clash between Chinese vessels and those of one of Washington’s treaty partners or close allies could easily escalate into a major confrontation. Just what form that might take or where it might lead is, of course, impossible to say. But it’s worth noting that, in recent South China Sea exercises, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has conducted large-scale combat drills, involving multiple aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. Any U.S. military response on such a scale would undoubtedly prompt a comparable Chinese reaction, setting in motion a potential spiral of escalation. Assuming that China continues its policy of harassing the fishing and exploration activities of its southern neighbors, a clash of this sort could occur at almost any time.

Resisting Bellicose Impulses

Given the dangers in Taiwan and the South China Sea, Presidents Biden and Xi will have to exercise extreme patience and prudence to prevent the ignition of a full-blown crisis in 2024. Hopefully, the understanding they developed in San Francisco, along with new crisis-management tools like enhanced military-to-military communications, will help them manage any problems that do arise. In doing so, however, they will have to overcome both the escalatory dynamics built into those disputes and bellicose domestic pressures from powerful political and industrial factions that view intense military competition with the other side (if not necessarily war) as attractive and necessary.

In both the U.S. and China, vast military-industrial operations have blossomed, fed by mammoth government disbursements intended to bolster their ability to defeat the other’s military in all-out, high-tech combat. In this hothouse environment, military bureaucracies and arms-makers on each side have come to assume that perpetuating an environment of mutual suspicion and hostility could prove advantageous, leaving key politicians ever more obliged to shower them with money and power. On December 13th and 14th, for example, the U.S. Senate and House, seemingly incapable of passing anything else, approved a record defense policy bill that authorized $886 billion in military spending in 2024 ($28 billion more than in 2023), with most of the increase earmarked for ships, planes, and missiles intended primarily for a possible future war with China. American military leaders — and politicians representing districts with a high concentration of defense contractors — are sure to request even greater spending increases in future years to overcome “the China threat.”

A similar dynamic fuels the funding efforts of top Chinese military-industrial officials, who no doubt are citing evidence of Washington’s drive to overpower China to demand a reciprocal buildup, including (all too ominously) of their country’s nuclear forces. In addition, in both countries, various political and media figures continue to benefit by harping on the “China threat” or the “America threat,” adding to the pressure on top officials to take strong action in response to any perceived provocation by the other side.

That being the case, Presidents Biden and Xi are likely to face a series of demanding challenges in 2024 from the seemingly intractable disputes between their two nations. Under the best of circumstances, perhaps they’ll be able to avoid a major blow-up, while making progress on less contentious issues like climate change and drug trafficking. To do so, however, they’ll have to resist powerful forces of entrenched bellicosity. If they can’t, the fierce wars in Ukraine and Gaza in 2023 could end up looking like relatively minor events as the two great powers face off against each other in a conflict that could all too literally take this planet to hell and back.

Fingers crossed.


Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War IIand Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story.

Copyright 2023 Michael Klare

Featured image: Now America will disturb China from Taiwan’s land… by Quick Spice is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is the five-college professor emeritus of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and a senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association. He is the author of 15 books, the latest of which is All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change. He is a founder of the Committee for a Sane U.S.-China Policy.

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[Note to TomDispatch Readers: As TomDispatch finishes its 22nd year (unbelievable, right?), the support you, its readers, continue to offer moves me deeply. In response to my desperate winter funding appeal, I’ve received a wonderful flow of donations without which I simply couldn’t go on. I always see your names when the donation forms come in and it’s a thrill to spot old friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and wonderful strangers from around the world. The only sad note I’ll add here is this: given TD‘s funding problems these days, it just wasn’t enough. This site needs still more to make it through 2024. I truly hope that those of you who find what I (and all the amazing writers I’ve gathered) do here useful and haven’t yet given in this busy holiday season will visit our donation page before year’s end and offer a hand. Meanwhile, I thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart. And to all of you, here’s wishing us a better year than any of us might imagine in 2024. TD will be back on January 4th. Count on it! Tom


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中國大手筆購買美國小麥 ----- Johnny Rice
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這是《坂金軋》財經新聞網站上的一篇報導;其內容不能說是中美貿易的冰山一角但它呈現了錯綜複雜中美關係的一個小小面向


A Month After Xi Jinping Meets With Iowan Farmers, China's Outsized Impact On US Commodity Markets Is Made Clear With Historic Buying Spree


, 12/21/3

Big Purchase

Between October and mid-December 2023, China purchased a massive amount of wheat, totaling 60 million bushels. This included a record-breaking weekly total of 55 million bushels. This unexpected development occurred when U.S. wheat prices had recently hit multi-year lows. Despite initial indications of a record-low year for U.S. wheat exports in 2023/24, China’s sudden purchases are expected to improve prospects in the face of strong competition from other exporting nations.

Why Now?

China, dealing with issues of wheat quality due to untimely rains during harvest season, is projected to be the top global wheat importer in 2023/24. This has led to increased global demand for affordable wheat.

Price Action

Market players took a significant net short position on U.S. wheat contracts in late 2023, exacerbating downward price trends. The recent uptick in Chinese purchases may signal a reversal, potentially alleviating downward pressure on wheat prices. While not guaranteeing a rally, it suggests a shift in the U.S. wheat market.

Agricultural Diplomacy

China's impact on the US Agricultural market is clear. But international purchasing is always in flux and it’s critical to keep up relations. Last month, during APAC – the Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference – China's 
President Xi Jinping met with Soybean farmers representing their interests. The representatives came from the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and advocated for China to increase its imports from the US.

China plays a pivotal role as the leading global soybean market, importing 60% of all internationally traded soybeans and around 30% of the annual U.S. soybean production. The significance of maintaining this relationship is crucial for both nations.

Opportunities For Investors

Understanding the impact China has on US agriculture is critical for investors looking to get involved. Individual investors can get involved in the commodities markets by trading futures, but this can be a complicated practice out of reach of many investors. Even for seasoned traders, pitfalls abound.

(
下略)

This article 
A Month After Xi Jinping Meets With Iowan Farmers, China's Outsized Impact On US Commodity Markets Is Made Clear With Historic Buying Spree originally appeared on Benzinga.com

© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.


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《習拜會總結:美、中關係分析》評論
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1.  全文要點及評論

哈斯博士這這篇文章內容平平(本欄上一篇)。但因為他來頭頗大(請參見本城市他的另一篇大作),我花點時間對此文做個「解構批判」。

第一段簡述2023習拜會達成的共識(請見本欄《習、拜會要點》,11/17)

此處提醒一下:在國際上「協議」都只不過「紙一張」。「共識」的價值大概只不過比口水高一級,比屁話高三級而已。

第二段強調美、中關係的本質是「競爭」;他指出:由於美國政府已經面臨兩面作戰,拜登的目的是「降低雙方緊張局勢」。第三段以美國國內政治為背景,其功能在「湊字數」」;可略過。

我認為:實力相當的雙方才有「競爭」;如果中、美兩國的確「實力相當」,成本效益最高的情境是:雙方達成「妥協」與「合作」。這是我曾說過的:「中、美合則兩利;鬥則俱傷」(《《中、美經貿脫鉤的虛實》評論》第2)

第四段聲稱習近平總理地位沒有以往那樣強勢;習總應該會擔心美國在「貿易戰」持續加碼。

我沒有充份的資訊評論這個意見。看官們可以根據本欄《習拜會:習總一手好牌》 – 11/14和《習拜會:拜登手中的牌更好》 – 11/18兩文的分析,自行判斷。

第五段提到「台灣議題」,內容了無新意。哈斯博士用「維護rules-based international order”」來替美國政府的「干涉內政」行為擦脂抹粉。且不提越戰和第二次伊拉克戰爭,就拿正在進行的以巴衝突下美國政府行為來看,哈斯博士的謊言和偽善可說不攻自破,路人皆知。美國官員/學者這種明知他人知道自己在忽悠,還恬不知恥的繼續胡說八道實在是醜陋到不行。

第六段評論雙方重新建立軍方通話機制;內容還是老生常談,其功能也在「湊字數」;可略過。

第七段評論雙方就氣候改變與人工智慧可能引發的危機兩個議題達成共識。他指出,重點在於:雙方共識能否導致「具體行動」。

第八段討論當前兩大國際危機:俄烏戰爭和以巴衝突。他指出:美、中雙方雖然在兩個議題上有歧見,但因種種因素不會導致兩國間的直接衝突;可以參考。

第九段討論南海危機與北韓問題;沒什麼有營養的料。

第十段回顧1949後美、中關係的演變。指出現階段兩國間在方方面面的針鋒相對。

最後一段算是全文的「結論」吧。他認為習拜會沒有「解決」雙方關係的難題,僅試圖「處理」這個緊張關係,讓兩國之間能夠選擇性的合作,以及不要惡化到兵戎相見。

2. 
結論

1) 
哈斯博士只有二流水準可以從以上我的評論看出。
2) 
他的可惡則在於他沒有(拒不)宣揚美國領導人應該致力「化解」美、中雙方緊張關係。相對而言,前國務卿布瑞欣斯基博士哈佛大學阿理森教授耶魯大學羅其教授都強調(1)美國政府要認清現實,不要再貪戀全球一哥的寶座對華政策應該以「和平共存」為原則。


附註

1.  布瑞欣斯基博士和羅其教授兩位的大作,見於本城市《中美關係 - 和為貴》一欄下之:《中美關係:將合作機制「制度化」》 -- 2013/05/19,以及《迎接新世代中國 -- 2013/07/06

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Summing up the Biden–Xi summit

Richard N. Haass, ASPI, 11/20/23

Summits are by definition occasions of high politics and drama, so it comes as little surprise that the 15 November meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping generated immense global interest. It was a useful meeting: Biden and Xi agreed to restart military-to-military communications, curb the deadly opioid fentanyl, fight climate change and discuss risks associated with artificial intelligence. But it was also something less than a reset of a relationship that has been deteriorating for several years and that will remain typified by competition more than anything else for the foreseeable future.

Both leaders came to San Francisco hoping the four-hour meeting (held alongside the APEC forum) would place a floor (to use Biden’s favourite image) under what is the defining bilateral relationship of this era. But it’s worth noting that their motives differed fundamentally. Biden wanted to reduce tensions, since the last thing he needs is another diplomatic or, worse, military crisis at a time when an overstretched United States is contending with Russian aggression against Ukraine in Europe and the after-effects of Hamas’s 7 October terrorist attack in Israel.

Biden, a year away from the 2024 presidential election, also needed to show he could be tough on China, both to parry Republican attacks and to show that he was focused on issues that are touching American lives. In this regard, he successfully pushed China to pledge to do more to rein in its exports of the chemical precursors that cartels in Mexico use to manufacture fentanyl.

Xi, for his part, came to California somewhat weakened, owing to the Chinese economy’s underperformance. Following years of excessive state intervention since Xi came to power a decade ago, youth unemployment is high, exports and foreign direct investment are down, and debt is a major issue. The last thing Xi and China’s economy need are more US export controls, sanctions and tariffs.

What did not change as a result of the conversation was the status of the most contentious issue dividing the US and China: Taiwan. For the past half-century the two governments have finessed the issue, essentially agreeing to disagree over the ultimate relationship between the island and the People’s Republic. Xi sees unification as central to his country’s future and to his own legacy; the US sees protecting Taiwan from coercion as central to America’s standing with its allies in the region and the fate of a rules-based international order. It’s likely that tensions stemming from these contrasting agendas will periodically spike in the future as in the past.

One piece of good news in this context was the agreement to re-establish military-to-military communications, which China cut off in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in August 2022. This is welcome in principle because it reduces the chances of an incident involving US and Chinese aircraft or ships, which operate in close proximity to one another on a daily basis. But whether this channel could be relied upon if an incident occurred, and, if so, to what effect, remains an open question.

The summit appeared to produce the promise of enhanced US–China cooperation on climate change and on regulating the use of AI. What will matter, though, is whether the spirit of that promise ultimately translates into meaningful concrete action.

The summit didn’t appear to bridge Chinese and American differences over the world’s two major ongoing conflicts. China is very much in Russia’s corner, while the US is in Ukraine’s, and China (unlike the US) has distanced itself from Israel in the wake of the 7 October attack, refusing to condemn Hamas and calling for an unconditional ceasefire. Despite these differences, the two governments don’t appear to be on a collision course in either region. China has held off on arming Russia, and it has a stake in not seeing conflict in the Middle East escalate to a point that jeopardises its ability to import Iranian oil. Xi also wants to avoid a scenario where mounting geopolitical differences over either of these crises provide a pretext for the US to take additional steps that would add to China’s economic difficulties.

But it remains to be seen whether such calculations on Xi’s part will lead China to exercise restraint in the South China Sea, where it has been applying increasing pressure against the Philippines, a long-standing American ally. And the summit provided no reason to believe that China is prepared to use its influence to rein in the nuclear and missile programs of North Korea.

Over seven decades, the modern US–China relationship has evolved significantly. Early on, there was no relationship to speak of, and the US found itself in an armed confrontation with China during the Korean War. That was followed two decades later by a period of strategic cooperation against the Soviet Union, and then to boost trade and investment as a joint priority once the Cold War ended. But economic ties have become a source of friction in recent years, and as China became increasingly assertive, the two countries found themselves increasingly at odds over just about everything, from regional and global issues to human rights.

The San Francisco summit didn’t alter this reality. US–China relations remain an issue to be managed, not a problem to be solved. Expecting anything else from the summit was to expect too much. The world’s most important bilateral relationship continues to be a highly competitive one, and the challenge remains what it was prior to the summit: to ensure that competition doesn’t preclude selective cooperation or give way to conflict.

Richard N. Haass, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a senior counsellor at Centerview Partners and the author, most recently, of The bill of obligations: the ten habits of good citizens. This article is presented in partnership with Project Syndicate © 2023. 


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《中、美經貿脫鉤的虛實》 評論
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楔子

本文以前已經與原文同時在今年02/23發表於本欄現在將它分開再度登出以便搜尋和引用。不便之處請見諒。


卡普瑞先生在《富比世》上的這篇文章分析「中、美經貿脫鉤」的現況和走勢(本欄第三篇文章)。摘譯和轉載如下我在譯文後會略做評論。

1.  
譯文

雖然華府在戰略科技領域加強了對中國這個地緣政治對頭的打擊,但過去兩年來美、中貿易與投資的金額都持續增加。從數字上看,「中、美經貿」並未「脫鉤」。

2022中、美雙邊貿易總額為歷史新高的 $6,900:中國對美進口較2021年增加$310國對中出口則較同年增加 $24

以上數字顯示:主導美國企業界的當代總經理們,過去二、三十年來一直理所當然地把中國市場規模做為她/他們業績成長策略的基礎

華爾街對中國金融業也是信心滿滿;2020年開始高盛集團公司摩根大通花旗集團摩根史坦利以及其它金融界龍頭投入了 $750 到中國金融市場貝萊德集團 則宣布將在中國設立 $10共同基金

這些數字其實只是冰山一角。許多境外投資公司可能隱藏了$1.4投入中國的資金導致實際投入中國金融業的外資金額可能是帳面上官方數字的三倍

中國大弔詭

上述情況呈現出一個複雜的、難以捉摸的謎:做為美國主要敵對角色的中國怎麼可能同時又是美國供應鏈不可或缺的夥伴;製造業重要的一環;以及不斷成長的市場

不過,當今全球供應鏈存在著一個難以解決的「雙軌道」現象:在華盛頓和北京之間就國家本位高科技競爭作戰(1)鬥爭進行得如火如荼的情況下,和中國相關的戰略性貨物及業務」的確已經在「脫鉤」中;和上述相關的產業及理論研究,如半導體、高速電腦、生物科技、以及量子科技等將逐步「脫鉤」

一個重要而棘手的難題是所謂的「灰色地區」:對一些所謂「雙重用途」產品既可用在一般商品,又可用在軍事設備的高科技產業的投資和貿易,有一天會發現公司和/或技術被列入禁運黑名單

一個顯而易見的問題是:有多少這些「雙重用途」的產品會因為被列入管制而造成全面性的「中、美經貿脫鉤」答案是:這個過程的加速程度超過一般人的預期

高科技產業的「雙軌道」現象

美國政府的半導體禁運實際上已經切斷了美國此項產業和重要的各個中國高科技公司間的供應鏈;這些公司包括:華為和中興通訊(電信);中芯國際和長江儲存(半導體);大疆創新(無人機);大華技術、曠視科技、商湯科技、和海康威視等等這些公司分別屬於人工智慧以及監控領域的軟、硬體企業。

在美國實施禁運和外銷管制前,這些公司和美國以及其它(中國)境外跨國企的貿易額高達數百億。例如:2018華為和外國高科技產業的貿易額是$700;其中包括來自英特爾美光科技、和高通三家公司的$110。這些貿易在202210月已經實質上終止。

中國所有跨國企業所面臨的問題是:還有多少產品會被列入禁運名單這個趨勢無疑會加速各國對中國經貿的全面脫鉤

灰色地區

(
略去)

2.  
評論

我沒有花時間去搜尋其它報導來佐證這篇文章中所列舉數據和事實的可信度。不過,明年此時我們可以從2023年中、美雙邊貿易總額,來判斷拜登政府(對中國)禁運政策」是玩真的還是玩假的。

如果拜登政府玩真的,我可以預見2024年民主黨總統候選人可能面臨的兩個問題:高失業率和低GDP成長率。如果脫鉤」擴大到中國對美進口貨物,則她/他還要面臨居高不下的通膨率。我在第一篇文章的介紹中提到:我一向認為美關係是:合則兩利鬥則俱傷」就是指這三個問題而言。另一方面,對中國的傷害,自然是延遲了高科技產業的進展。

在《彼此傷害而又相互依賴的中美關係》一文中,羅其教授針對日趨緊張的「中、美關係」提出了分析;該文作者則根據羅其教授的分析,提出一個(我認為是)「治標」的方法。請參考。

附註:

1.
原文hybrid war是作者另一篇分析的標題(請使用超連接)該標題借用軍事學術語的多線戰爭」。


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《習拜會:習總贏了舊金山牌局》讀後
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平心而論我不覺得考特金先生這篇文章很有料(本欄上一篇)。就標題來說,他應該針對「會談結果」分析/評論;而不是做些泛泛之談(請參看本欄《習、拜會要點》)。就內容而言,標題改為《習總近日春風得意比較適合(“Xi is Sitting Pretty Nowadays”請參看本欄《習拜會:拜登手中的牌更好)

以下三段話很有意思

… Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, former prime minister David Cameron, who can be counted on to wear out conference carpets with his kowtowing

段話相當缺德。

But last year America’s net deficit in high-tech trade was $242 billion, with the country relying on factories in China for military goods

一段話資訊值飽滿。

He could also force Xi to pledge not to take over Taiwan, which many American industries count on for key components. Imagine what could happen if China seizes these assets before the West can replicate them. Then, Xi will truly be king of the world.

一段話近於揶揄;因為,他明明知道自己所描述的情境在三、五年內難以實現。


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習拜會:習總贏了舊金山牌局 - Joel Kotkin
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Xi Jinping emerges as the winner from San Francisco

The Chinese premier has the West right where he wants it

 JOEL KOTKIN, 11/16/23

Xi Jinping should have entered San Francisco’s Apec conference with his tail between his legs, but instead has emerged as something closer to the king of the world. China may be experiencing tepid growth, a 
bloated real estate market, low industrial production, and an increasingly alienated youth yet, in spite of these factors, he appears to be wearing the crown.

To reach for this kind of power, being a dictator is helpful. One can force an agenda on one’s nation and the world without worrying too much about domestic critics. It certainly works with foreigners: after all, Xi’s mere presence has led San Francisco to 
clean itself up, something it has not managed for the last decade.

It’s also worth comparing Xi to his counterparts. Besides him, Western leaders are doing little to impress — not least his host, the doddering Joe Biden, whose 
own party does not even want him to run. There’s not a Churchill, Roosevelt or even a Reagan in the bunch. Biden was even prevented from unveiling a proposed new trade deal in San Francisco with Asia’s other economies due to opposition from his own party

Strategically, Xi has the West exactly where he wants it. China agreed to 
US climate proposals in San Francisco this week. The demands for more wind and solar energy, as well as electric vehicles, assure an industrial supremacy for the country that produces more greenhouse gases than the entire developed world put together. China already boasts a huge lead in solar battery production, and increasingly dominates the production of rare-earth elements, which are critical to wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles

As 
American EV firms struggle with production and supply chain issues, China’s Warren Buffett-backed BYD has emerged as the world’s top electric vehicle manufacturer, with big export ambitions, while Tesla focuses much of its future growth at its Chinese factories. Meanwhile, the Net Zero policies of the West are already unravelling Germany’s industrial economy, which is losing much of its industrial base, notably in chemicals and vehicles.

Like the former Soviet Union, China has found 
many “useful idiots” in the American establishment, including on Wall Street, Silicon Valley and, it appears, within the Biden family. China has also found ways to influence politicians in Australia and Canada. And we certainly can’t expect a stiff upper lip from Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, former prime minister David Cameron, who can be counted on to wear out conference carpets with his kowtowing.  

Some in the West insist that China will never conquer the “commanding heights” of the world’s technology-driven economy. But last year America’s net deficit in high-tech trade was $242 billion, with the country relying on factories in China for military goods

What’s more, China now has a freer hand militarily. Tied down in Ukraine and the Middle East, the Institute for Strategic and International Studies has 
warned that the West now lacks “sufficient residual inventories for training and to execute war plans”. Chong Ja Ian, a political science professor at the National University of Singapore, added that Xi is following the pattern which Mao referred to as “talk and fight, fight and talk […] That is, to talk while building up forces.”

If Biden still had leverage, or the will to use it, he might insist that China pledge to not aid Russia or Iran. He could also force Xi to pledge not to take over Taiwan, which many American industries count on for key components. Imagine what could happen if China seizes these assets before the West can replicate them. Then, Xi will truly be king of the world.


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